Dear trans youth of Idaho: We will never stop fighting alongside you for access to health care

We are sorry that your care has become a weapon to score political points, write guest columnists Sara Swaboda and Marvin Alviso.

Transgender flags

“We will continue to fight with you for the care you deserve. We will continue to advocate for you to live your full, authentic lives,” write Drs. Sara Swaboda and Marvin Alviso.

Dear Trans Youth of Idaho; 

We see you. Your doctors and care providers are heartbroken and infuriated by the signing of House Bill 71 into law. We are honored to care for you and help you be your whole selves. We are awed by your bravery to live authentically in a world that continually questions and denies your existence. We are grateful when we get to share joy with you, and angry when others try to erase you. We have seen how gender affirming care helps you become yourselves — shining even brighter than your families imagined possible. How with the right, individualized health care, you can be happy, thriving teenagers who grow up to be thriving adults. We are sorry that your health care has become a weapon to score political points. We are sorry that pseudoscience and lies have been used to justify taking your health care away.  

We want you to know that in just five short days, we had over 650 physicians, providers, and medical students from all over Idaho sign a letter to Gov. Brad Little asking him to veto HB 71. Unlike the sponsors of the bill, we did not have to fly providers in from out of state or rely on doctors who have never met you or cared for you to testify. That’s because we, the physicians of Idaho, know that providing the widely accepted standard of care to young trans people is well studied, safe, and life-saving. For us, the doctors who do care for you, this is not about politics or some theoretical fear. This is about real people living real lives. This is about parents making the best decisions they can for their kids. This is about our neighbors, our friends, and our community. 

We are deeply disappointed and angry that the Legislature and Gov. Little decided to prioritize politics over science, the rights of parents, and ultimately the lives of children, but we are committed to standing with you. We know that HB 71 harms all of us — every single person in Idaho. We will continue to fight with you for the care you deserve. We will continue to advocate for you to live your full, authentic lives.

We know that trans people exist. You are here — you always have been, and you always will be. You are our grandparents, our construction workers, our doctors, our next-door neighbors, our cashiers, our siblings and our kids. We know that gender dysphoria is not a phase, and it’s not a trend. And we know that taking away life-saving medications won’t make you or any trans person go away. 

If Gov. Little truly cares about making “Idaho the place where our children and grandchildren choose to stay,” he needs to stop signing bills that threaten the lives of our children. Our Idaho includes transgender children and adults. You belong here. Our state is better with you. Please know that we see you and we are so glad you are here. We are lucky and honored to know you and care for you. We are your doctors and your providers, and we will never stop fighting alongside you for a world that is as brilliant and as beautiful as you.  

HB 71 does not go into effect until January 2024, and there are pending legal challenges, so you can continue to legally get care in Idaho until at least Jan. 1, 2024. Your providers are working on how to help you continue to get the care you need if and when it does become illegal in Idaho. 

We know this is a terrifying, uncertain time. If you or anyone you know is thinking of harming themselves, please reach out for help — to your loved ones, your community, your providers. If you are contemplating suicide or just need to talk to someone, call or text 988, the Trevor Project Hotline at: 1-866-488-7386, or the Trans Lifeline at: 1-877-565-8860.  

You deserve to be here, and we will stand with you. 


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Sara Swaboda
Sara Swaboda

Dr. Sara Swoboda is a primary care pediatrician in Idaho. She was born and raised in Idaho and is a WWAMI alumni.

Marvin Alviso
Marvin Alviso

Dr. Marvin Alviso is a family physician in Boise with over 10 years of experience. In addition to primary care, he specializes in the care delivered to the LGBTQ+ community. Dr. Swoboda and Dr. Alviso are part of an active and committed group of physicians in Idaho supporting transgender youth.